MPs have called for the Department for Transport (DfT) to work more closely with fleets in an effort to improve road safety.
The cross-party transport committee believes the Government should consider incentives to encourage the uptake of vehicle safety systems – backing a key recommendation from the Fleet Industry Manifesto, published by Fleet News in association with the BVRLA and ACFO.
It also says that telematics offers an “invaluable source of data” that could inform policy-making to improve driving behaviour and safety.
In its report, Motoring of the Future, the transport committee suggests that the DfT should identify vehicle safety technologies whose introduction needs to be accelerated and devise a range of fiscal and other incentives to increase their rate of adoption.
“Potential levers to nudge behaviour include type certification, road worthiness standards, mandating the fitting of particular technologies to new and existing vehicles by a specified date, scrappage schemes and fiscal incentives,” the report said.
The Fleet Industry Manifesto called for tax breaks to be offered on preventative safety systems to encourage wider and faster uptake among fleet operators.
Incentives could be used for other purposes, too, says the transport commission report.
“Some levers may be helpful in tackling more than one issue – a scrappage scheme could see improvements to emissions and safety; the DfT might wish to prioritise measures which secure more than one benefit.”
The transport committee also recommends that information derived from telematics systems could be used to manage traffic flows or to inform highways design.
“Fleet managers are using telematics to improve the driving of their vehicles and insurance companies are collecting data from drivers,” the committee says.
“But there is no evidence to suggest that the DfT has taken steps to determine how such new sources of information could be used to inform policy-making.
“The DfT should work with representatives from the insurance industry and others who hold data on driving – for example, motor manufacturers, manufacturers of satellite navigation systems and fleet owners and operators – to see what use it might make of anonymised data from vehicles and how this can be combined with existing information from the Highways Agency to inform policy.”
MPs argue that the DfT needs to develop a comprehensive strategy to maximise the benefits of new technologies, such as telematics and driverless cars.
Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA), gave evidence to the transport committee in October, 2014.
He told Fleet News: “BVRLA members are using telematics, big data and car-sharing technology to transform the way people use and access vehicles. With government support, the potential to reduce harmful emissions, road casualties and congestion is huge.”
However, the committee says greater clarity is needed on the practical application of data governance legislation – an issue highlighted in the Fleet Industry Manifesto.
The committee said: “The DfT must ask the information commissioner to review the current rules and guidance on access to fleet and driver information and the rights of drivers and other interested parties to access vehicle data and to publish updated guidelines on the collection, access and use of vehicle data.”
The committee welcomed the DfT’s regulatory review, The Pathway to Driverless Cars, but says more detail was required on how it will reform legislation and regulation to support that review.
Louise Ellman MP, chair of the transport committee, said: “The Government must do more to ensure that people and businesses benefit from this opportunity.”
Driverless trials have the green light in Bristol, Coventry, Greenwich, and Milton Keynes as part of a £19m programme.